The United States strongly condemned on Tuesday the deadly attack on a police station in Yerevan launched by armed members of an Armenian radical opposition group.
The U.S. State Department at the same time urged the Armenian authorities to show “restraint” in dealing with the gunmen holding four police officers hostage in the compound.
“We offer our thoughts and prayers to the families of the police officers who were killed or injured during -- I think the incident took place Sunday in Yerevan’s Erebuni district,” said Mark Toner, a department spokesman.
“We obviously condemn strongly the use of violence to effect political change in Armenia or anywhere,” he told a news briefing in Washington. “We encourage Armenian authorities to handle the situation with appropriate restraint.”
“We want to see political change through democratic processes,” added Toner. “And so we would certainly want to caution anybody who thinks that violence is a plausible way to achieve any political aims.”
The gunmen reportedly numbering 18 are demanding the release of Zhirayr Sefilian, the leader of their Founding Parliament opposition movement who was arrested last month for allegedly plotting to seize government buildings. They also want President Serzh Sarkisian to resign.
Founding Parliament accuses Sarkisian of corruption and readiness to make significant concessions to Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The nationalist group favors a hard line on Karabakh.